If you discover a leaking pipe, you need to contact a plumbing expert as soon as possible to prevent further damage to your home. We will get there fast, diagnose the problem, and repair your pipes quickly to get your plumbing working perfectly again. We have provided plumbing services to the Brazos Valley since 2014 and have a team of licensed and trained professionals you can trust to repair and restore any leaking pipes in your home or business!
Dynamic Drains, a team of professionals dedicated to honest communication and high professionalism. Give us a call, we will…
- Inspect your pipes
- Diagnose the problem
- Deliver an upfront quote
- Repair your pipes!
The short answer is it depends. It depends on the material of the pipe and where the pipe is located.
For copper, PEX (cross-linked polyethylene), CPVC (chlorinated polyvinyl chloride), and PVC (polyvinyl chloride) pipes that develop a leak, the section with the issue can be cut out and new pipe and fittings can be spliced into existing pipe that is in good condition.
For galvanized pipe or cast iron, the entire section of the pipe that is leaking will need to be replaced from end to end and not spliced with a new piece.
It depends on the application, local codes, water quality, and climate when determining which pipe material is best.
For domestic use applications, the most common types of pipes these days are copper, PEX (cross-linked polyethylene), PVC (polyvinyl chloride), and CPVC (chlorinated polyvinyl chloride).
PEX piping is a great option for cost, ease of installation, and corrosion resistant qualities. Like all water pipes, it does have to be protected against freezing but in the event it does freeze, most of the time it will only expand and not split or burst. If PEX is installed in an area where sunlight can reach it, it needs to have a protective sleeve. It is best to not have any PEX exposed to any UV light.
CPVC pipe is designed for hot and cold water applications and is approved for use in Texas for many applications. The issues with CPVC are that it relies on solvent welded connections, it is susceptible to cracking when it freezes, damaged by UV exposure, and will become brittle over time even when not exposed to UV. CPVC does not have the same tensile strength as PEX and is more likely to crack due to shifting or ground movement.
Copper pipe is great for many applications but if freezing is a high potential, it is recommended to use PEX instead. Copper pipe is very sturdy, non corrosive, and can handle high pressures but will split easily in the event of freezing. If the quality of the water is low or if it is corrosive, copper pipe can be susceptible to corrosion over time whereas plastic pipe is superior in this situation. For drain pipes, PVC is superior unless the local codes require cast iron.
Firstly, your fresh water pipes are under constant pressure as long as the main water supply is on. A drain pipe only has water in it when a fixture with a drain, like a toilet, sink faucet, or bathtub, is used. A fresh water leak is a leak on a water pipe that feeds your home’s sinks, toilets, faucets, etc. It is what supplies your drinking water (domestic use).
When fresh water pipes develop a leak, the water will not stop flowing or spraying out until the water supply is shut off.
When these water pipes are located in an attic, the leak is usually discovered quickly because the ceiling will become wet and water may drip below. It will not stop flowing until the water supply is shut off and the residual water drains out.
If the pipes are located inside a wall or below the bottom floor, a leak may not be so obvious to detect. The symptoms for a fresh water leak, aside from seeing water, are a high water bill, standing water in one spot in the yard or under a house, lower than usual water pressure, or stains on walls and floor boards. If fresh water lines located under a concrete slab develop a leak, it can take some time to really notice it and there is no guarantee that any standing water will actually present itself. Usually we see stained or wet baseboards with leaks below the slab. If a hot water pipe located below the slab leaks, a common symptom is the floor being unusually warm in one area but you still may not actually see any water.
Conversely, if a drain pipe develops a leak, it will only leak when the fixture(s) it is connected to is used. If a drain pipe is located between floors and leaks, the symptoms can take some time (days or weeks) to present themselves unless it is severe enough. Usually what we see when a toilet or bathtub drain leaks between floors are discolored stains on the ceiling due to the heavy bacteria in the waste water.
Drain leaks can be more difficult to spot and diagnose due to these factors. If you suspect a drain below a concrete slab is leaking, the drains may need to be tested with a hydro-static test and an in-line sewer camera to inspect the pipes. The symptoms for a sub-slab drain leak can be foundation issues, sewer odors, voids on the edge of the slab where water has caused the dirt to wash out, and frequent clogs.
The short answer is, no. Just because the fresh water pipes are galvanized, that doesn’t necessarily mean they need replacing. Galvanized pipes can become restricted over time with rust build-up on the inside causing poor water pressure and reduced flow. If there have been multiple pipe leaks on various pipes over the course of time, it may be more cost effective to replace them all at once, if it is within the budget.
The biggest factor with galvanized pipes and whether or not they will leak is when the pipe was manufactured. Prior to the mid 1970s, the galvanized pipe used in many homes in the USA were of a much better quality than those installed from 1975 to the early 90s. Many homes built in the 1950s-’60s still have galvanized pipes for their fresh water supply and they are still in decent condition.
Water quality is also a factor when it comes to life expectancy of galvanized pipes as they are susceptible to corrosion over time more so than any other approved material.
The quality of the galvanizing process makes a difference, too, and that is impossible to know when buying new pipe. We never use galvanized pipe for any fresh water line repairs or replacements for these reasons.
We replace many sub-slab leaking fresh water pipes and drain pipes without breaking up the concrete to access it.
For leaking fresh water lines located below the slab, we first have to determine what pipe is leaking and what fixture(s) it is supplying. Once that is done, we typically will eliminate the offending pipe and relocate it inside the ceiling or attic and reconnect to the system above the slab at one of the manifolds where the pipes connect to the system. If done properly on the initial installation, there should never be any connections like tees or otherwise below a slab on fresh water supply pipes. All those connections are made above the slab with manifolds allowing for straight runs below the slab between manifolds which makes it possible to not have to break any concrete in order to fix the leak. The exception to this option is when the pipe is feeding an island sink or if tees were installed below the slab. In those cases, we create an access pit closest to the offending pipe and dig a tunnel to the pipe in order to access it. We try our best to avoid breaking any concrete.
With leaking or damaged sub-slab drain pipes, we use the tunnel method for replacing them. It is rare that we need to break concrete to fix sub-slab drains. Just like with fresh water pipes, we first need to determine which drain pipe is leaking. Once that is done, an access pit on the exterior is made and a tunnel is dug up to the offending drain pipe that allows a plumber to crawl into the tunnel to work. We then cut out the bad section and replace it with new pipe and fittings while also anchoring the new pipe and any exposed existing pipe to the slab above the pipe with approved hangers and anchors.